Dear Labels, Go F**k Yourself. Love, Amazon

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In case you were wondering if Amazon is seeking licenses for its recent cloud-based launch… the answer is ‘not really’.

And, that was made blatantly obvious in this letter from Amazon to major label groups. What they are seeking is licenses for various enhancements upon their initial launch – for example, the ability to consolidate redundant song uploads with a single copy to save space. Here’s the ‘dear label’ letter, shared with Digital Music News by various recipients…


“Our launch of Cloud Drive and Cloud Player last week garnered lots of attention and excitement. We thought we’d follow up with you to let you know that customer response has been terrific. Customers have embraced Cloud Drive by uploading photos, documents, music and other digital files and thanking us for providing an easy way for them to keep their files safe.

And, as we expected, by removing the friction associated with managing your personal music files, our launch of Cloud Player has boosted Amazon MP3 sales.

There has been a lot of discussion as to whether Cloud Drive and Cloud Player require licenses from content owners.  Here’s why they do not:

(1) Cloud Drive is a general online storage service for all digital files, not unlike Google Docs, Microsoft SkyDrive and any number of other internet file backup services.  It’s your external hard-drive in the cloud.  It requires a license from content owners no more than those other internet file back-up services do and no more than makers of external hard drives for PCs do.

(2) Cloud Player is a media management and playback application not unlike Windows Media Player and any number of other media management applications that let customers manage and play their music.  It requires a license from content owners no more than those applications do.

It’s really that simple.

There has also been speculation that we are looking for licenses for Cloud Drive and Cloud Player.  We are not looking for licenses for Cloud Drive or Cloud Player as they exist today — as no licensees are required.   There are, however, potential enhancements to Cloud Drive and Cloud Player that would require licenses and that we are interested in — like the ability to replace multiple copies of the same music track uploaded by different customers with a single server copy that could be used for all customers with the same track.  Licenses permitting us to do that would save storage costs and would be good for customers because they would reduce the number of tracks customers need to upload to Cloud Drive themselves.

Expect to hear more from us on potential licensing in the near future — and please let us know if you have any questions in the meantime.

The Amazon Music Team”